Crear set to return, two more potential impact players assigned
SOUTHAVEN --- With just about a month until the start of training camp, the Memphis Xplorers of af2 announced today that the team has been assigned OL/DL Joseph Crear, OL/DL David Bamiro and Offensive Specialist Kenny Higgins by the league office. The second year Crear returns after helping the Xplorers to the ArenaCup Title last season. Bamiro is rookie out of Stony Brook and Higgins is a rookie out of Toledo.
The 6-foot-2 inch, 270 pound Crear was named to the All-af2 Team in each of his first two seasons. In 2005, he played in 15 regular season games and all three playoff games for the ArenaCup champs. He finished the regular season with 11.5 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. His 5.5 sacks in his rookie season of 2004 led the team. Crear played his college ball at Mississippi Valley State.
"Joe was instrumental in helping us win the championship last season," Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto said. "Joe was our best two-way lineman last season and I was shocked he didn't get a chance to attend an AFL training camp. The AFL's loss is our gain and I look for Joe to be a huge part of us defending our championship."
"Joseph was perhaps our most versatile performer the last two seasons," Xplorers Director of Player Personnel Chris Bauer said. "He will provide the kind of leadership we need to retain the Cup."
The 6-foot-2 inch, 235 pound Bamiro was in training camp with the Vikings in 2005 after signing a free agent contract. At Division I-AA Stony Brook, the two-time All-Northeast Conference selection started all 39 games that he played in. During his senior season in 2004, he led the NEC with 10.5 sacks en route to setting a new conference mark for career sacks with 29. Bamiro was named to the 2004 Sports Network and Don Hansen I-AA Mid-Major All-America teams.
"David is a great pass rusher who dominated at his level in college," Barto said. "David almost made the Minnesota Vikings, which is really impressive when you look at his weight. A scout for the Vikings said that this guy can flat-out rush the passer. David should come in and help us continue the pass rushing success we have had."
"Bamiro is the guy we targeted all along to be our defensive specialist to replace Lineman of the Year Khreem Smith," Bauer said. "He is slightly undersized, but is extremely quick off the edge in the outside pass rush."
Higgins, 6-foot-one, 180 pounds, has also had NFL training camp experience. He was in camp with the San Diego Chargers following his college career at Toledo. In his senior season with the Rockets, the Long Beach, CA native was second on the team with 46 receptions and 697 receiving yards and tied for second with 5 touchdowns.
"I believe that Kenny should come in and be an impact player in this league," Barto said. "We have had great success with offensive players from Toledo in the past." Quarterback Brian Jones, who helped lead the Xplorers to the championship last season, was a Toledo University product.
"Higgins is the total package," Bauer said. "He is another NFL camp guy with great hands and speed that will compete for the chance to replace Kevin Prentiss as our offensive specialist."
The Memphis Xplorers...2005 ArenaCup Champions
The Xplorers will defend their Arena Cup Championship in 2006 and you can be in on the action. The season begins on April 1 at Tennessee Valley with the home opener on April 8 versus the Florida Firecats.
Season Tickets are available now and begin as low as $64. Don't miss all the action of the "50-Yard Indoor War." For season ticket information call the Xplorers office at 662-342-1755.
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